UK softball loses defensive battle with Georgia


University of Kentucky freshman Grace Baalman throw over the plate during the home opener against the University of Dayton on Thursday, March 1, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Erika Bonner

The No. 18 Kentucky softball team began its home series against No. 6 SEC rival Georgia Bulldogs Friday evening, taking a 0-1 loss.

Kentucky now sports a 27-14 overall record and a 4-11 SEC record on the season. Georgia stands at 12-4 in the SEC.

Friday’s matchup resulted in a pitchers’ duel as there was only one total run scored and five combined hits. Kentucky’s Grace Baalman only allowed three hits while Georgia’s Mary Wilson Avant allowed two.

Despite the Wildcats’ loss, Kentucky head coach Rachel Lawson was pleased with the way her team’s pitching and defense played.

“Grace was outstanding,” Lawson said. “I mean, Georgia’s one of the top hitting teams in the nation and for her to scatter three hits around and to only give up one run against that team, and at one point she struck out four in a row, that just really shows you how far she’s come, especially being a freshman.”

The sixth inning was important for both teams, as it brought the first hit of the game. The hit came from Georgia on an RBI single, which was the Bulldogs’ only run. The bottom of the sixth was Kentucky’s most important inning as six players reached base.

The Cats are being very defensive-minded in this series against Georgia because Georgia is one of the top hitting teams in the country, and while their defense was important for them in Friday’s game, Lawson says it’s something else that her team needs to better in moving forward in the series.

“I think we have to do a better job offensively in the box competing for our pitches,” Lawson said. “The thing that I love was what a great job that Grace did on the mound. The thing that I know we need to do better is our veteran hitters need to do a better job putting the ball into play.”

Kentucky looks to bounce back and tie up the series tomorrow in game two of the series against Georgia at 2 p.m. at John Cropp Stadium.